Named Of The Dragon
by Susanna Kearsley, contemporary (1999)
Berkley, $6.99, ISBN 0-425-17345-3


This book isn't actually a romance, though it is billed as Romantic Suspense on the spine. But it is written so beautifully that I feel as if I've went to Wales myself with the characters in the story. It's like embarking a very good, slow-paced yet never boring holiday trip with interesting and witty companions. For a few hours I'm taken away from my living room to a magical, idyll Wales. Now I must go visit Wales!

Literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw's baby boy was stillborn, and until today, she has never recovered. She dreams of searching frantically for a crying baby night after night, so when her top client, author of children's books Bridget Cooper manages to persuade Lyn's bosses to let Lyn follow her to Wales, Lyn reluctantly agrees. What else but some time away from home to give her some peace of mind?

They reach Angle when they are joined by Bridget's boyfriend James Swift and his brother Christopher. Bridget wants to dump James for reclusive, mysterious playwright Gareth Gwyn Morgan, but not if Gareth and James have their way. For Lyn, she is troubled when a probably loony woman Elen declares that she is the protector of Elen's infant child. Lyn starts having dreams again, this time involving Elen and her baby, all linked to the Arthurian and Merlin myth. Eventually Lyn starts to question the possibility that someone is out to harm that child. Then there's this growing attraction to Gareth. Oh dear.

The romance between Gareth and Lyn is severely underdeveloped, and I'm sure this book is not meant to be a romantic suspense. It's more of a cozy mystery story, where one can sit back and savor the vividly humorous interactions between the characters. Ms Kearsley succeeds wonderfully in creating intriguing characters: the seemingly placid James who is not letting Bridget get away that easily, Bridget who cunningly coaxes and manipulates the men around here (and how they fight back!), and Lyn. Lyn is a woman who is so real that I couldn't help but to feel really sorry for this poor woman who is still grieving over her lost child. Still, she retains a rather dry, acerbic wit. Her sometimes ironic thoughts make me chuckle aloud more than once.

Best of all, the atmosphere is so vivid it's like I'm being teleported right there into Ms Kearsley's world. Wales is beautiful, the author says, but she says it in gentle, loving turn of phrases that paint me a wonderful, irresistable panorama of that place.

This book is perfect for a slow, lazy day read, especially when one needs to get away from stress, job, money trouble, the kids, the usual nonsense. It may be slow, but it is not boring or draggy. Wales, get ready. I'll be in England this December and I think I may make that detour to Wales. You people are warned.

Rating: 89


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